People Power Works!

Parents of children with special needs and teachers are absolutely right to protest against cuts.

The ‘Anglo tapes’ have exposed the blatant disregard the bankers have for the people of this country.  The Fianna Fáil-Green government colluded with them and now the current Fine Gael-Labour are doing the same – paying off the promissory note and bondholders and inflicting brutal cuts on vulnerable sections of our society and ordinary citizens.

But we can fight back – In the last two weeks alone, there have been two major victories for campaigns fighting back.

Protests forced the government to abandon plans to sell the harvesting rights to Coillte forests after thousands of people across the country joined walks in woods in Avondale and elsewhere.

Just yesterday the quick response by the INTO, Parents Associations and other groups involved in the area of Special Needs, forced the Minister to concede on one aspect of the proposed cuts, Resource allocation.

As the numbers of primary school pupils are increasing, funding and resources desperately need to be increased – not brutally cut! Cuts to Special Needs Assistants will now be down to 75% of the allocation of 2011.

Not only have these children had to face these cuts over the past three years, but there is an increase of some 10 per cent in children entitled to support, with 4,100 more children requiring teaching supports than last year. There will be 42,500 children receiving additional teaching supports against some 38,400 last year.  This means that these limited supports will be even stretched further.

Both the Government and the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) are denying that these are cuts.  They are saying that the current levels are being maintained.  The fact that Ruairi Quinn has conceded on the Resource Allocation shows that to be a lie. In reality, this means that new entrants to primary schools who have special needs will either get no allocation or the overall allocation in a school will be diluted, so that everybody will suffer.

Quinn’s u-turn and the recent victory on Coillte show that when people organise and resist they can win. Everyone has to come out together otherwise they will pick people off group by group. We need to build a unified people’s movement of resistance to unjust cuts and austerity. 

Join the protests when the Dail re-opens in September

Read more about today’s protest here: